Save Water by Using a Rain Barrel

Are you a fan of sustainability and being eco-friendly? Then you’ll love this idea. Most of us have rain gutters on our houses. It keeps the water from running down onto our heads when we walk out the door, and it helps transport all that water away from our house, rather than constantly dripping right next to our foundation.

So where is your rain gutter sending your rain water? For many of us, the spout is about 12 inches away from our house, and is just simply pointed away from dwelling place. It works well, but guess what? By doing this, we’re wasting a very precious resource.

The Resource of Water

Many of us forget just how precious water is. What if you didn’t have a shower? What if you didn’t have a faucet that just squirted water out at your bidding? I’m sure you’ve seen videos of those poor countries that have to walk for miles just to get to a fresh water source. They then fill up one or two buckets for their families and haul it all the way back home. This water is not flowing through a faucet or coming out of a shower head. Nope, it’s definitely much more labor intensive.

The way we use water today is quite wasteful. We take long showers, leave the water running the whole time we brush our teeth, and we might even water our lawns for hours at a time. Rather than being so wasteful, why don’t we do the best we can to preserve our fabulous resource of water?

The Rain Barrel

A rain barrel is an incredibly simple too, but it’s unbelievably effective. Instead of just pointing your water spout away from your property and letting the water flood into your yard, why not shorten up that trough a little bit and run the water into a rain barrel? This barrel is most commonly a 55 gallon drum will a screen on top that will filter our any sticks or leaves that might come through your rain gutters. Obviously, this simple filtering system doesn’t make the water safe for drinking, but it makes it perfectly safe for watering your garden or your plants around the house.

When I first heard of the rain barrel, I wondered how you got the water out. Most of these barrels come with a short hose that’s attached to the bottom of the barrel and the water is emitted by the simple power of gravity (as I said, this barrel is very simple). So, there is some pressure there, but only what gravity will provide. Think of it as a big Gatorade jug. There will be some pressure, but it’s definitely not a pressure washer.

With this barrel, you’ll not only be reducing your water usage, but in doing that, you’ll also be reducing your monthly bills! All it takes is a simple barrel at the end of your gutter system and you’ll be doing good things for the environment and saving a little money in the process!

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How (and Why) You Should Teach Your Kids about Personal Finance

It’s often lamented that “kids these days” don’t know the value of a dollar, nor do they know how to properly save. If you currently have children living at home, a strong foundation in personal finance is one of the most important lessons you could teach them, one that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Not sure how to go about teaching them how to properly manage their money? Read on to find out!

Basics of Budgeting

First things first: if your kid doesn’t know how to set up a budget and follow it, then the rest of the financial lessons below probably won’t be taken too seriously. Budgeting can be a dry activity, but using a system of stickers or rewards (depending on your child’s age) can encourage them to stay positive and follow through on their goals. All it takes is a simple chart of their income and outflow and some mechanism for tracking their progress toward their savings goals.

Savings Habits: Start Young

Speaking of savings, one of the biggest problems facing teenagers and twentysomethings today is debt. Whether it’s from taking out too many student loans or abusing the credit card privilege, venturing out into the “real world” with a massive load of debt on your shoulders makes life much more difficult. To teach your kid the true value of saving money, start with the classic: an allowance. Getting money in exchange for work is a basic, but crucial lesson for later in life. If money is tight, consider restricting their allowance to a few dollars per week, and maybe even offer a parental match for every dollar saved (similar to the 401(k) match some employers offer as an incentive for their employees to save for retirement). This way, they’ll approach saving as a fun activity that can eventually lead to a big purchase, rather than seeing it as a chore.

Coupon Clipping 101

Who says coupons are only for adults? Although coupon clippers are generally portrayed as stay-at-home moms, the whole family can get involved! Whether it’s surfing online for coupons at sites like Sumo Coupon or browsing through stacks of newspapers for sweet deals, clipping coupons together as a family not only saves money when it comes time to shop, but it also encourages a frugal approach to shopping.

Encourage Entrepreneurial Spirit

Lemonade stands in summer, cookie and hot cocoa stands in winter. It seems simple enough; but why stop there? Kids have wild imaginations and what better way to harness that creativity than through a productive, entrepreneurial outlet? Whether it’s hosting an art show for family members and auctioning off their masterpieces, tutoring younger siblings or neighbors, cleaning yards/pools/houses/cars/etc., caring for animals (or, my personal favorite, setting up a balloon animal stand and selling creations at $1 each)…all of these are viable sources of income and teach kids to do more than wait for a job to appear; they have to go out and make their own opportunities.

Nip Impulse Purchases in the Bud

Kids and teenagers are notorious for exhibiting a lack of restraint when it comes to buying things they want (especially when it’s not their money). This bad habit, if left unchecked, could follow them into adulthood, spelling disaster for their finances. By teaching your kids the difference between “wants” and “needs” (as well as sticking to a budget, as mentioned previously), you could save them a lot of headache and debt later on.

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How (and Why) You Should Teach Your Kids about Personal Finance

It’s often lamented that “kids these days” don’t know the value of a dollar, nor do they know how to properly save. If you currently have children living at home, a strong foundation in personal finance is one of the most important lessons you could teach them, one that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Not sure how to go about teaching them how to properly manage their money? Read on to find out!

Basics of Budgeting

First things first: if your kid doesn’t know how to set up a budget and follow it, then the rest of the financial lessons below probably won’t be taken too seriously. Budgeting can be a dry activity, but using a system of stickers or rewards (depending on your child’s age) can encourage them to stay positive and follow through on their goals. All it takes is a simple chart of their income and outflow and some mechanism for tracking their progress toward their savings goals.

Savings Habits: Start Young

Speaking of savings, one of the biggest problems facing teenagers and twentysomethings today is debt. Whether it’s from taking out too many student loans or abusing the credit card privilege, venturing out into the “real world” with a massive load of debt on your shoulders makes life much more difficult. To teach your kid the true value of saving money, start with the classic: an allowance. Getting money in exchange for work is a basic, but crucial lesson for later in life. If money is tight, consider restricting their allowance to a few dollars per week, and maybe even offer a parental match for every dollar saved (similar to the 401(k) match some employers offer as an incentive for their employees to save for retirement). This way, they’ll approach saving as a fun activity that can eventually lead to a big purchase, rather than seeing it as a chore.

Coupon Clipping 101

Who says coupons are only for adults? Although coupon clippers are generally portrayed as stay-at-home moms, the whole family can get involved! Whether it’s surfing online for coupons at sites like Sumo Coupon or browsing through stacks of newspapers for sweet deals, clipping coupons together as a family not only saves money when it comes time to shop, but it also encourages a frugal approach to shopping.

Encourage Entrepreneurial Spirit

Lemonade stands in summer, cookie and hot cocoa stands in winter. It seems simple enough; but why stop there? Kids have wild imaginations and what better way to harness that creativity than through a productive, entrepreneurial outlet? Whether it’s hosting an art show for family members and auctioning off their masterpieces, tutoring younger siblings or neighbors, cleaning yards/pools/houses/cars/etc., caring for animals (or, my personal favorite, setting up a balloon animal stand and selling creations at $1 each)…all of these are viable sources of income and teach kids to do more than wait for a job to appear; they have to go out and make their own opportunities.

Nip Impulse Purchases in the Bud

Kids and teenagers are notorious for exhibiting a lack of restraint when it comes to buying things they want (especially when it’s not their money). This bad habit, if left unchecked, could follow them into adulthood, spelling disaster for their finances. By teaching your kids the difference between “wants” and “needs” (as well as sticking to a budget, as mentioned previously), you could save them a lot of headache and debt later on.

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Why You Should Go International with Your Online Business

There are businesses throughout the world competing with each other for the attention of their market. Businesses no longer remain local when trying to market their products. Unless you have a business selling services to a local audience, there is no reason why you should not engage the international stage with your company. In the worst case scenario, you do not make any money beyond the local population. In the best case scenario, you are able to start selling around the world to an ever-growing section of the population that loves what you have to offer. To make it work, make sure you are marketing effectively, work on shipping costs and be prepared to start ramping up production. If successful, you will be thankful you tried.

Market Effectively

One essential rule in business is that you cannot ever expect business to come to you, so you need to find ways to get more business. This means marketing to the people who are most likely to buy from you. Developing a good marketing solution means utilizing all the tools at your disposal. Make sure you include social media, blogs, good website design, videos and more in your marketing strategy. Also, make sure you are able to start marketing in more than one language. The more you are able to engage people in their native language, the easier it is going to be to bring in more attention for your business.

Work on Shipping Costs

Your profits vary a great deal if you are paying for shipping costs around the world as opposed to down the street. Keep this in mind as you are pricing items and when deciding how much you will charge to cover shipping and handling. One good way you can be sure you are lowering your shipping costs is through fulfillment shipping. This is where you ship a massive freight of goods to a country for a discounted rate. Once in the country, the goods are shipped as ordered for a lowered rate.

Be Prepared for More Work

If all of your efforts are successful, there is a good possibility you are in for a mountain of new work to accomplish. It will do no good to bring in a lot of orders and sales if you cannot even fulfill them. Start stockpiling products to ship out as soon as the orders start rolling in. This way, you will not be playing catch up. If you realize that the orders are coming in faster than you can make replacement products for your stockpile, start hiring people and creating new manufacturing methods. If you are lucky, your business will grow as you fill more requests and win the hearts of satisfied customers.

As long as you are marketing effectively, lowering shipping costs and preparing to be busy, you are ready to enter the International markets. Starting down this road can easily lead to an ever-growing business.

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